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1979 BMW M1 Procar


The BMW M1 emerged as a visionary creation under the leadership of Jochen Neerpasch, who helmed BMW Motorsport at the time. Driven by an unwavering determination to outshine their Porsche counterparts, Neerpasch and his Munich-based team embarked on the ambitious journey of crafting an entirely new Group 5 racing machine from the ground up.

Gianpaolo Dallara, Lamborghini’s chief designer, was tasked with creating a fresh tubular steel spaceframe chassis, onto which the lightweight fiberglass bodywork, masterfully crafted by Italdesign’s Giorgetto Giugiaro, was fitted.

In order to meet homologation requirements for racing, BMW had to produce a limited number of road-going M1’s. These road cars were powered by BMW Motorsports own M88 engine, a mid-mounted 3.5-litre inline-six, that produced around 277 horsepower, making their road-going M1’s one of the fastest sports cars of its time. This would also be the first purpose-built engine to be designed by BMW’s now world-renowned M division.

The competition cars however featured a modified version of the M88 engine, and in racing trim they produced around 470 horsepower. Extensive bodywork modifications and aerodynamic enhancements also featured, including flared wheel arches and a large rear wing.

In 1978, a pivotal change in Group 5 regulations rendered the M1 unable to compete. Faced with the prospect of relegating his masterpiece to mere historical archives, Jochen Neerpasch took a proactive approach by collaborating with his associate, Max Mosley, who held the role of March team principal and was also affiliated with the Formula 1 Constructors Association at that time.

As a result of their collaboration, the Procar series was born – a unique one-make championship designed to complement the European Formula 1 events, ensuring the enduring legacy of this BMW masterpiece, now christened the M1 Procar.

The series was designed to attract drivers from the different disciplines of motorsport such as Formula One, the World Sportscar Championship and the European Touring Car Championship. Drivers would be entered in identical BMW M1 Procar’s, with the quickest performing Formula One drivers that weekend gaining automatic entry to the Procar grid in a ‘works’ supported BMW M1 Procar.

Manufacture of these M1 Procar’s would fall between Project Four Racing (Ron Dennis’s F2 & F3 Team), BS Fabrications on behalf of BMW and Italian race car manufacturer and Formula One team, Osella Squadra Corse.

Initially, 25 Procar’s were commissioned, but by the time production ended in 1981, a total of 54 examples had been built. Crucially, throughout the three years of production, BMW also managed to build and sell 399 M1 road cars, officially meeting the FISA’s requirements of building a combined total of over 400 cars and homologated the Procar to Group 4 specification.

Chassis 1065, the 24th Procar, was built by Project Four and delivered new to the American racer Jim Busby on the 9th May 1979. It was then promptly entered into the 1979 IMSA GT Championship.

This remarkable Procar made its racing debut at the 1979 6 Hours of Watkins Glen, under the banner of BMW of North America, proudly sponsored by the iconic American brewing company, Coors. Jim Busby teamed up with the talented BMW works driver and emerging Formula One star, Manfred Winkelhock, as well as the seasoned British Formula One veteran, David Hobbs. They qualified impressively in 13th place overall. Unfortunately, a technical issue forced an early retirement from the race.

This did not discourage Busby, and he continued to field his newly acquired Procar in an additional five rounds of the 1979 IMSA Championship. Competing in the GTX class, Busby made appearances at Road America, Sears Point, and even secured a podium finish at the 250 miles of Mid-Ohio.

Jim Busby did not campaign the Procar in the 1980’s season and in early 1981, one of Busby’s sponsors, Bill Kargas, brokered the sale of Chassis 1065 to Chuck Kendall.

Under the banner of Chuck Kendall’s preparation shop, Kendall Racing, the Procar competed in six rounds of the IMSA Championship that season. Running in the GTO class, and frequently piloted by IMSA legend Dennis Aase, Chassis 1065 achieved four top-ten finishes, including victories in the GTO class at Sears Point and Road America.

1982 would perhaps be 1065’s most illustrious season, starting off in January with the 20th annual running of the 24 Hours of Daytona. Driven once again by Dennis Aase, he would team up with team owner, Chuck Kendall and fellow American, John Hotchkis. The all-American line up started strongly, lining up on the grid in 17th position before an engine issue forced the car to retire later in the race.

The competitive driver pairing of Aase, Kendall and Hotchkis were reunited again only a few weeks later to take part in the 12 Hours of Sebring, before going on to race in a further seven rounds of the 1982 IMSA season. To round off a busy season, Kendall took the Procar to Japan for the seventh round of the FIA World Endurance Championship, held at the Fuji International Raceway.

Returning to competitive action again in 1983, Chuck Kendall took charge of driving duties, racing 1065 on seven occasions before retiring the car from competitive action.

The BMW would remain in Kendall’s ownership until 2004, when it was purchased by renowned Procar expert, Christian Traber, and repatriated to Europe. On arrival at Traber’s prestigious Graber Sportgarage, the Procar was treated to an extensive race preparation programme to bring it up to the standards of historic racing.

Upon completion, Traber took 1065 back to the USA, entering the 2005 Rolex Monterey Historic and picking up the award for best presentation and performance.

Purchased by the current UK based owner in 2007, the Procar has been successfully campaigned throughout Europe in recent years, including numerous participations at the prestigious Le Mans Classic.

In 2021, after many successful years of historic racing, the current owner decided to undertake a restoration of the famous ‘Coors’ Procar. Aaron Scott and his team at Scott Sport were trusted with the work, with the comprehensive two-year restoration addressing all aspects of the Procar. All cosmetic and mechanical components were overhauled with the engine being freshly rebuilt by specialists, X-Tec.

Completed in July 2023, the Procar has only completed test milage since and is offered today in exceptional condition.


Keyword Search Terms:

BMW, M1, Procar


Item Location: London, UK
Seller: Rory Henderson
Joined May 2019
  Rory Henderson
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Company: Rory Henderson
Country: United Kingdom
City: London
Phone: +44 2070780835
Condition Used
Trade or Private: Trade
Price: £POA
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Added: 24/11/2023
Views: 9655

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